Another Devastating Flood in 1857

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Another Devastating Flood in 1857
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Two devastating events happened in our area on January 9 – 161 years apart! (Image:
By Betsy J. Green

January 9, 1857 - Another Devastating Flood

An article in the paper on January 9, 1919 pointed out that this date was the anniversary of “one of the most severe earthquakes in the history of California. This great trembler took place January 9, 1857, according to the historian of that day, ‘the earth did shake.’ The region of the disturbance extended from Point Conception to Los Angeles, and numerous towns were severely damaged.” This earthquake is now called the Fort Tejon earthquake.

But one part of the article reminded me of the devasting debris flow in Montecito that happened 161 years later, on January 9, 2018. Here’s the description of the 1857 quake: “The water in the Mission reservoir was shaken until it slopped out and ran away in a considerable stream. At the Hot Springs, great rocks were loosened from the mountain and cast into the valley.” 

Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1918 -- is now available in local bookstores and at This is the fifth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at

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Luvaduck Jan 13, 2019 08:23 AM
Another Devastating Flood in 1857

Working on 6th mass extinction but the Earth will survive. Nature holds the ultimate trump card. Whether our particular species will--whenever the next one comes--is an open question.

Flicka Jan 12, 2019 09:43 AM
Another Devastating Flood in 1857

Thanks, Betsy. Always a treat to get your articles about our history. Your books condensing a year of history for each "100 years ago" are wonderful.

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